A Few of My Favorite Things


I just recently had a head shot done with a fabulous photographer who owns Fresh Look Photography.   One thing that is not my favorite is me in a photograph but she told me before I came, to think about some of my favorite things that represented me both personally and professionally.  It really made me think because as humans I think we just get used to what we do every day but really don’t think about what of those things that actually make us happy.  Happily I am here to tell you what they are!

My Wooden Spoon.

It’s not an old spoon, but for some reason it reminds me of one that is.  It’s a Williams Sonoma spoon I sort of got for free because of a gift card.  At first it didn’t do much for me but now it’s the perfect spoon.  I grab it every time I have to stir.  I love the feel of the wood and the smell of the seasoning and time that has gone into it.  

My Chef’s Knife.

Every real cook or chef has one.   It’s not always the same brand, or the same size or weight.  It’s always sharp.  I use it even when it’s not the right knife to use.  It’s big and makes me feel powerful in the kitchen when I’m ready to take on a vegetable or onion or something equally choppable.  (I know that’s not a real word, but I just made it one).   My knife is my shadow and best friends with my wooden spoon.  It’s like we’re all a team.

My Cooking Magazines.

I have several I love to read.  They come every month and I look through them, tear our recipes and if I don’t have time to do that they pile up waiting for me.  It’s like a vacation I look forward to.  My very favorite is Fine Cooking.  It only comes every other month, which at times makes it the longest two months ever.  It’s perfect for the new cook or the more experienced.  Always different ways to use the same ingredients, directions that are easy to follow, favorite products (of which I have ordered from time to time) and great photographs.  My go to.  My obsession.  My “I wish I could be a part of this magazine” magazine.  Love it, and you would too.

Food.

I love food.  I love eating it, cooking it, discovering it.  My waistline doesn’t love it so much but for me it’s pure joy.  It’s how people come together.  It can be creative, beautiful, comfortable and delicious all at the same time.  Most of all, I love finger foods.  Creating beautiful little minis of bigger things we all love.  One or two bites (my waistline is all in favor) and you can be satisfied, but your palate tingles because it knows there are many more options to try.  I mean if you don’t like food, you really can’t be my friend.  

Prosecco.

Yes!  I love wine, water and juices, but Prosecco and I have a relationship.  Almost like a significant other but better because it doesn’t talk back.  I love the refreshing sparkle of the bubbles and the crispness it has, like a beautiful fall day.  Dry is better than sweet and a full bottle is better than an empty one.  Definitely one of my favorite things.

And finally..  bacon.  And Bourbon.  Enough said.

Have you ever thought about it?  What are your favorite things?  I’d love to hear what they are!

What Menu Option Works Best For Your Wedding?

When i first got married in what seems like a hundred years ago, I bucked the system in my small upstate NY town and had finger foods for the menu.  We had a very small wedding and when i think back, I’m sure most of the guests were wondering when dinner would be served.  Without much guidance, I had chosen that menu because it was cheaper and we didn’t have a lot of money.

My second wedding was in my home on New Year’s Eve and we thought it would be more fun to have a catered buffet and a party after, ringing in the midnight hour with friends and drinks.  I mean…who was eating anyway?

Fast forward to years later and I am now catering weddings.  Who would have thought?  What kind of perspective or knowledge to I have to give a potential wedding client?   Well, here are my thoughts on what and why and the reasons of.

Sit down dinners.  Not my choice.  Ever.  Although it really is one of the most budget friendly options, I do not like the idea of sitting at one table for a couple of hours talking to the same people you were fortunate enough to be paired with.  Typically it’s a chicken or beef selection and it’s dry or cold.  And although I’m there for the bride and groom, let’s face it… i’m also hungry, so I’d like it to be eatable.  Even the most efficient kitchens logistically cannot serve over 100 meals at the same time and keep everything hot.  

Family Style dinners.  This is a little better than sit down but not far off.  You not only get the privilege of sitting with the same people but now you can also pass bowls of food around.  This is great for very small groups of people but in the end you’re just getting cold food… just in bigger bowls.

Buffet dinners.  This still is not my favorite but better than a sit down.  You still have your table and fun table-mates but you at least have choices with this meal and can get up and have more food if you wish.  My problem with buffets (and only because I’m a little OCD) is the fact you still have a lot of people digging in the same container for their food and that is just not something that I like.  It’s like bulk food for the masses and it all kind of looks brown.  But variety, warm temperature and abundance is a plus.

Stations and Hors d’oeuvres.  Now we’re talking!  I love these ideas because you have so many options available! (This is probably why I chose to specialize in this category!) You can accommodate so many different tastes, dietary restrictions and budgets in one fell swoop and the possibilities are endless.  I’ve seen donut stations, pasta stations, salad stations and if you combine those with one or two bite size finger foods, you have a menu that will give guests something for everyone.  Plate it well and it will not only please the palate but also the eye. Remember, you always eat with your eyes first!   You really are only limited by your imagination and your wallet but the nice thing is, you can usually find some fun ideas to fit into either of those catagories, no matter what.

I know this is about what I like and what I’ve seen works best, but it’s really about you and your wedding and what you want for your menu.  Think about how you want the vibe to be and your tastes.  Think of the dietary restrictions you have to account for. This is nothing new but hopefully will let you explore options that you might not have thought about.  If you have questions or would like to look at menu options call your favorite caterer and see what will be the best for you!

It Takes a Village

They always say it takes a village.  Or maybe it’s a group.  It could just be fate.  But I think it really is a community that cares and wants to see people grow.  

Many days, I stand in my kitchen alone.  It’s okay because I like to feel the love that moves from my fingers to my food.  It’s a process that a lot of people might not understand.  It something that comes from within, deep inside my soul.  But it is at the cost of alienating myself from people.  I can become a hermit, lost in the flavors and textures of creations I do for people.

This is why I value my community because they understand my passion.  I’m a novice to this community as many of them have been growing their trade for many years.  Yet they embraced me and welcomed me, despite the fact I have not the years of experience behind me.  They say people come in and out of your life for different reasons.  I have so many people that I believe are a reason I am where I am and most of you know who you are, whether you are still a part of my life or not.  You have all helped me grow and realize the road I should travel on.  

Kristin of Jollity was my first “real” client.  We did many parties together and she helped me to realize that small foods are great foods to have at your party and something that I love to do.  Although, not in my community any longer,  I still appreciate her help in the beginning.  Barbara, the creator of Virginia Wedding Week and owner of Style Events is the one who got me started in the wedding industry.  She took a chance on some pictures she followed and asked me to serve some of my food at a meeting they held.  It was one of the best and most

Ashley of Studio I do and Barbara of Virginia Wedding Week

important nights I’ve had.  I met so many amazing people that I would not have met if it wasn’t for her belief in me. I have to say I absolutely love this person for who she is and I hope she is always a part of my community.  Kelly of Inspired Events by Kelly and Ashley of Studio I do have had the trust and confidence in me for their important events and for that I am and will be always so grateful.  They are such a part of my community that I when I’m not working with them, I love seeking out just to say hi to.  And finally, Charles… my friend, my neighbor and my mentor.  As the owner of Blue Seafood, the help he has given me is probably more than he knows, and so appreciated.

Kelly of Inspired Events by Kelly

Where would any of us be without our people?  I’m sure many of you have thought you’ve done well at getting where you are on your own, but really has it been without those silent supporters that cheered you on?  Maybe it is just fate and we’re destined to be on that road no matter what.   Whatever the reason is, I am blessed to be where I am.  Whether we are “competitors” or acquaintances,  it is important to support and help grow each other.  In a world where “ME” comes first, where kindness is non existent, and neighborhoods are not really neighborly, I find strength in having that community around me.  

And that is why it’s okay if I’m alone sometimes.  I always know there is a village for me to reach out to.   

Living the Dream

Last week we went to the U.S. Open. It was a dream of my husband’s and although I like golf I think I could have lived without it. The deal was, however, that we would go into East Hampton the next day and hopefully run into Ina Garten. How could I pass up a deal like that?

The golf tournament was ok. It rained, I was soaked, they played on. Blah, blah, blah. I did however see Tiger pull off a good bogey, Bubba walked by and Michelson played very well on the 9th. It wasn’t a bad ending to the day, but certainly there were better things ahead of us. LIKE SATURDAY IN EAST HAMPTON!

Coincidentally, Ina had posted a blog about if we came to East Hampton, here were her favorite places to go. (are you kidding? it was like an invitation to stop by for dinner!) So there I was, with my list, headed to the land of Ina Garten. I would run into her and she would then realize we were destined to be the best of friends. (I might be stretching the truth just a little bit here and although she never responded, I did send her an email inviting her out to dinner).

The first stop (and the best stop) was a little cheese shop in Sag Harbor. It was called Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese. I walked in and fell in love. It was so quaint and I knew if I lived closer, I would be there every day. The girls in the shop were so nice and so helpful. We tasted a couple of cheeses I had never had and of course bought some. I ended up buying some of their gourmet items also, much to the chagrin of my husband’s wallet.

I walked in and fell in love. It was so quaint and I knew if I lived closer, I would be there every day. The girls in the shop were so nice and so helpful. We tasted a couple of cheeses I had never had and of course bought some. I ended up buying some of their gourmet items also, much to the chagrin of my husband’s wallet. And as you might have guessed, I asked if Ina really came to the shop. The girls said she came in all the time, was a sweet and as real as anyone. I thought I would hang out for a week or two and wait for her but my husband really wasn’t keen on that idea, so we had to leave.

As I left, I asked them to say “hi” to Ina for me, and told them she just hadn’t realized we’re best friends yet. I’m sure they think I’m some crazy stalker-ish kind of person. I’m not really. I’m just a wanna-be Barefoot Contessa kind of person hoping to run into one of my favorite idols.

And Ina Garten, I’m still waiting and hoping for your phone call.

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